The weather outside your window may have been frightful this week, but there were some bright developments in the state’s technology world. Omar Gallaga, tech guru for the Austin American-Statesman, visited the Texas Standard studios to discuss two new projects from the University of Texas at Austin.

When we turn our devices on these days – smartphones, laptops, tablets – most of us try not to think about how vulnerable we are online. Our data is easily accessible. If we contemplated that for too long, we might not log on to Facebook or Twitter all day. At the very least, we might feel compelled to turn off our wifi. Luckily, Gallaga says the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Identity is here to help.

The Center aims to protect our online identity through a multitude of ways. “They put out a lot of warnings and guidelines on what websites should and shouldn’t do,” Gallaga says.

And now, they’ve just released a free downloadable Google Chrome extension. It’s basically an app that attaches to your Google Chrome browser (there isn’t an app for other browsers at this time, sorry folks). The extension, Privacy Check, boils down each website’s privacy policy to a series of icons.

“Nobody really reads that, first of all. Good websites – I mean – legitimate websites typically have a privacy policy. This browser extension will basically translate that,” Gallaga says. “It at least lets you know what a website is doing with your information. What kind of data mining is going on.”

In other tech news, the year-old Denius-Sams Gaming Academy, also out of the University of Texas at Austin, just released its first for-PC-only free downloadable video game. In The Calm Before players must defend a mystical island from a legendary storm by solving puzzles and fighting beasts.

If only the game could help us fend off this weather we’re having.

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